That difference between me with Asperger's syndrome and a neurotypical person is probably most evident in how I look at friendships and how I function in close relationships.

Image: Dreamstime (with licence)



Gustav Koi writes this in a guest post on hjelptilhjelp.no, which is an edited excerpt from his book "Asperger's landscape", and which addresses an important and exciting topic. Here you read the whole post.

 

A difference in the functioning of the brain

He writes:





What is the difference between those diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and the neurotypical human?

This is an important question. 

But I will probably start by saying that it is essential in the brain. That we with Asperger's syndrome are in a way screwed together a little differently, which in turn means that we probably think differently as well.





Of course, this does not mean that everyone with the diagnosis thinks the same. The fact that the brain is like this can have both advantages and disadvantages based on what life situation one is in. When we are born and where we were born can also play a role.

Some in the world of science believe and believe that it is the mirror neurons in the brain that do not work as they should, whether they are lethargic, dewy, or at worst cracked.

If the mirror neurons are just dull or dewy, then something can be done, they think, through training, etc. If they are broken, there is not much one can do, but one can learn to adapt. 

 

Differences in how to function in close relationships

That difference between me with Asperger's syndrome and a neurotypical person is probably most expressed in how I look at friendships, and how I function in close relationships, such as being in a relationship or married. Here I can only speak for myself, but I think that many others can experience much of the same.

If one of my closest ones, ie one in my immediate vicinity, is ill, then it is a challenge for me what I can do. I would rather do something the way the other person does or feels better. Some people feel pity for thinking about how the other person feels. But for me, that is not enough.

They must in a way express how they feel, but not in such a way that it places great demands on me, because then I can be stressed.

I know that some people with Asperger's get angry when their loved one is sick. It may be that you are unable to feel pity, because you want to express it to the person who is ill. But you can also get angry at someone who feels that the patient makes demands on you that you cannot fulfill. Yes the patient can become very self-absorbed as well.

But concentrating a lot on your own lack of feelings when you are facing your loved one who is ill, is probably not so wise. Even then, I have to think about what the patient needs, and what I can do for her, because that must be what must count the most, I think. 

 

Differences in how one reacts and feels

So I have understood it so that the main difference between someone with Asperger's syndrome and a neurotypical human being is how we react, or feel and from there also a lack of expected reactions.

Expectations are not in relation to each other, and one must learn to adapt, which can become very tiring over time. It is difficult for me to know what a neurotypical person is like, and someone who does not have Asperger's syndrome may not know what it is like to have Asperger's.

An interesting statement came from an expert on Asperger's syndrome, who believed that those with Asperger's were seen as people who had difficulty understanding neurotypical people.

This was not something new, but then he thought that we have difficulty understanding them as well. And he then thought that if those with Asperger's have empathy problems, then the neurotypical people also have empathy problems in relation to them (Jakten. Gustav Koi, 2011)

 

What some mothers have seen in their teens 

Here are some statements from mothers of adolescents with Asperger syndrome:

 

  1. "They are not motivated by social expectations, but rather by self-interests. It does not help with a smiley face in the book by the teacher if they have managed something, for what benefit do they have from a smiling face? But they are motivated by the fact that they get a personal benefit from the result, for example that they get to pursue their special interest or get a reward in the form of money for something they save for, etc. "
  2. "They are not concerned with status, how they dress, how they are perceived by others." "They are not as flexible. They are often frustrated in situations and withdraw. They need to know what awaits them, etc."
  3. "Some people are not good at communicating because they think others know what they know (telepathy), so they fail to say other important things."
  4. "Being useful, having a meaning in life, and getting a job is more important for him to find out now than his peers. He spends a lot of time pondering the future. He's easy to pick out a bit. and put it in a separate context. "
  5. "Those with Asperger's syndrome do not have the same urge to travel as their peers. My son does not want to go to parties, etc. He does not have the same need for friends."
  6. "The need for group affiliation and the pursuit of popularity that is important to NT youths does not seem to be important to my boys, and organized sports are not interesting to them."
  7. "What is of interest mostly happens within the four walls of the home."
  8. "Aspergers do not have great ambitions for careers or long studies. They may know a little about their own limitations, that they are easily stressed and tired, that unforeseen things take a lot of energy, and that the general profit is not so great."
  9. "Everything must be planned in advance and everything must be done as planned otherwise there will be chaos and frustrations for some."
  10. "The fact that they keep the child in them, emotionally, longer than others."

 

What the diagnosed say themselves

Here are some statements from young people who themselves have Asperger's syndrome, where they consider the difference between them and a neurotypical person.

 

  1. "I do not have a severe degree of Asperger's, so I function quite normally that way. I do not see quite the difference between me and a non-Asperger's. The social problems I have now come from other reasons."
  2. "I find that people without Asperger's are more social and also better socially, but I think there may be some exceptions as well."
  3. "I think someone with Asperger's syndrome differs from others a bit in the same way as, for example, an ME patient, as I have perceived ME. We get tired quickly."
  4. "Personally, I experience the most important difference as a strong desire for independence. I also relate differently to what I have around me - emphasize other details, react more to sensory impressions."

 

What have professionals observed

Here are some statements from professionals about the difference between a person with Asperger's Syndrome and a neurotypical person. 

 

  1. "The fundamental difference is a significantly poorer understanding of, and / or desire for social relationship and contact."
  2. "The person with Asperger's has greater difficulty taking the other person's perspective, getting into the other person's situation."
  3. "Those who have Asperger's syndrome are more vulnerable to change, and more easily misunderstand the intentions of others. This may lead to them missing out, or refusing offers. It can affect opportunities for both education, work and treatment options."
  4. "Withdrawal and loneliness are a result of having encountered too many difficulties and experienced the world as so inaccessible and stressful that it is better to live alone than to involve others. Perhaps the biggest difference is flexibility; how flexible one can be in relation to "conversations, changing topics and finding new topics, ie following and adapting to the initiative of others. People with Asperger's syndrome are annoyingly constant and accurate in their opinion - it is difficult to get a person with Asperger's to accept inaccurate information"

 

Differences in empathy

What more can I say.

To get back to it a bit with empathy again. It's just not that easy to get around.

A neurologist answered me that there are actually two forms of empathy (Jakten. Gustav Koi, 2011).

Buy first the form is probably the one we have known best or heard most about before the Asperger's diagnosis came into the picture. It is the lack of empathy that is often used in connection with psychopaths, or sociopaths, who are driven by a strong ego without paying attention or caring about the suffering of others.

Then we have it andre the form of empathy, which is what one might call an empathy problem or disorder for many people with Asperger's, but which has nothing to do with them not caring, or being emotionally cold.

But it is about the fact that they may have difficulty taking other people's feelings into account, and reacting as expected. In other words: one reacts somewhat differently to things than what others do, but how clearly this emerges is another matter. Even if they try to find a solution to problems others may have, it is not always that this is the most important thing there and then. People with Asperger's also have a lot to learn over the years.   

 

My conclusion

The question of what the difference between someone with Asperger's and a neurotypical human being consists of can probably be perceived as somewhat different as well. A number of traits have been mentioned that make those with Asperger's different from others, but not much has been said about the brain itself - the invisible that we do not see.

But the way the brain is or functions, it is often most expressed in how they nurture and focus on their interests, and show great perseverance in this. Often in connection with a lot of logical thinking.

I see the significant difference first and foremost in how we function socially, but then I do not think about what we can or cannot do, but more about how we can have it, and that it can be tiring. I use an incredible amount of energy in social settings and when it wears off I long to come for myself. Either to rest or to do something for myself.

Maybe this is not such a big difference from a neurotypical human being? 

What is the cause, or the reason why people with Asperger's have the brain they have, one has not been able to agree on, but that people with Asperger's have a brain that works somewhat differently seems to be true.

This test is an edited excerpt from the book "Asperger's Landscape." 

- Written by Gustav Koi, private researcher and communicator.